Monday, June 3, 2013

First Day: June 2013

I do love when the 1st day falls on a weekend. Too bad, even when I take the pictures, I forget to get a post up! Oops! The first day of June was a lovely summery one! It started with lots of caffeine (for mommy), 3.5 hours of cleaning (ugh), a trip to the splash park with friends, ice cream, and a date night. Not a bad Saturday, if I do say so myself!
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Join us in our 1st day fun at Journey to Josie!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter weekend started on Saturday as it usually does, making a giant mess with some dye and eggs. In my brilliance, I managed to get a tie dye kit this year. Next year we will return to the normal eggs in the cups kit...and a natural dye so I will let the kids actually eat the eggs later on. This one involved a little plastic dropper and kids without enough fine motor skills to wield it quite right! The eggs looked cool though and the kids had fun, so it wasn't all bad. As you can see, Nate is serious about his eggs.
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This year Nate can read, so I decided to set up a scavenger hunt for them to find their baskets. I came up with a poem (so difficult for this un-rhymey kinda girl) to start the hunt and then hid 6 clues inside of plastic eggs. Nate read the note and each clue and figured them all out on his own. He would get so excited when he solved each one. The look on his face was priceless and then he would sprint to the next location with his sister following along behind him.

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When they found their baskets they ripped into them. Both kids got new bubble bath and scrubbies. Nate got a Skylander, a Lego Power Ranger, a mini basketball hoop that sticks to the window and a squirt gun. Arielle got a plush My Little Pony, little stickers for her nails, and a squirt gun. They barely even noticed that there were only 3 small eggs with jelly beans inside and a Pez dispenser.
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We went to the park for a little fresh air and exercise then got ready for Easter dinner with the family. I should mention that there are ~30 of us at every big event. While I love the big gatherings it is a little hectic, so I have learned to let go of some control. More about how this backfired later. I made a flower to match Arielle's outfit and managed to get a few pictures of her when we first arrived. I knew I had to get them quickly before she managed to lose the clip and soil her dress. I can't believe how big she is getting. We even got a family picture this time, so there is proof I actually exist!  Coming out of this New England winter we are all so pale...except for Nate.
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The kids had an Easter egg hunt in the yard and ran around like crazies. I am sort of a Nazi when it comes to candy. The in-laws...not so much. There was so much chocolate ingested by each of my kids, and very little actual food. Every time I turned around Arielle had another piece of something sweet in her mouth. I try to tell myself that this is one day a year and just let it go, but that logic doesn't fly when the 3 year old is puking at 3 in the morning! All in all, it was a fun-filled family day and we are one day closer to warmer weather! Happy Easter!
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Menu Planning Monday

I have been planning my meals each week,but haven't been keeping track afterward. I love the weekly meal planning because it is a great resource for me to look back on when I need inspiration for the current week. I browse Pinterest all of the time, and a lot of my new recipes come from there, but it is nice to have a repository of the ones I know we liked. Here are last week's and this week's menus:

Last Week:

Roasted chicken with balsamic green beans- Easy roasted chicken with salt and pepper on the outside and an onion and lemon on the inside, served with green beans that were cooked then cooled and tossed with some balsamic vinegarand a littl ebit of oil.

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie- We love this recipe. Lentils replace the meat andit is a hearty, flavorful meal.

Greek chicken with salad (lettuce, tomato, feta cheese, green pepper, greek dressing), hummus and whole wheat pita.- For the chicken I just marinated the breasts in olive oil, lemon, garlic, rosemary, and oregano then broiled it. I can't wait to get back to grilling weather! The hummus was pretty good, but the raw garlic was really strong and almost oddly spicy. I think it would have tasted delicious with roasted garlic and I will use that next time.

Pesto pasta with sauteed portabello mushrooms and roasted cauliflower on the side. - This was juat a quick dinner because we got back too late to make what I planned. It was yum just the same!

Shrimp tacos with multigrain tortillas and chipotle lime slaw- I pieced together a couple recipes for this meal. The shrimp marinade I got here and the slaw recipe came from here. It was a great combo and the first time for both recipes.Definitely keepers!

Roasted root veggies and salad- We roasted beets, carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, onions, and brussel sprouts and served them along side a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and balsamic vinegrette. It's nice to have a couple meatless meals during the week. Not only does it cut some meat out of our diet, but saves money at the market by not purchasing meat, which can be pricey.

This week:

Homemade chicken tenders with steamed green beans and cucumber salad- This is the hubby's contribution this week. He dips the chicken breast pieces in egg and then dredges themin seasoned panko breadcrumbs and then pan fries them. The cucumber salad is just sliced cucumbers marinated in red wine vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

Southwestern quinoa and black bean wraps- This is the first time I will make this recipe...I'll update it after we see if we like it!

Broiled halibut with asparagus and roasted new potatoes

Asian meatballs, with steamed edamame and brown rice- First time making this too, so I'll update later!

We have dinner at both in-laws this week too, so that's two fewer meals to make and I don't usually plan for Saturday since we often eat out once a week.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

First Day March 2013

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I think this is the first 1st day that I have no pics of the kiddos. I left for work before they woke and got home after they were asleep. I missed them, but sometimes you need a girls night!

Link up for First day at Journey to Josie!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Everything Give Thanks

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I think we are all guilty of this from time to time. We get caught up in working toward the things we want and miss opportunities to bask in the glow of the amazing things already in our lives. Even in the valleys of life, we all have things to be thankful for. These are some of the things on my mind this week:
  • My amazing husband who works so hard and re-arranged his schedule so he could stay home with the girl 2 days a week. It not only saves us money on daycare, but it gives them daddy-daughter bonding time that I think is so sweet.
  • My awesome little boy who got his second quarter report card back and has come so far in his social skills from this time last year. He is so smart and I am glad his behavior is no longer holding him back from shining!
  • Opportunities at work to stretch myself and learn new things.
  • Friends, old and new, that are a big part of my life.
  • Hearing that my friend's daughter is fighting and doing well in her battle with cancer and appreciating every healthy day in our family.
  • My sweetie peetie girl who looks at me with her sparkly eyes and tells me all the time how much she loves me and that I am her best friend. 
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Link up for Thankful Thursday with Joanna at Baby Gator's Den!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birthday Memories

Week 4 in the Me before Mom series asks: How did you celebrate your birthday? Do you have a favorite celebration? Worst? From the cake to the presents to the guests, invite us in to the party.

I don't remember too many big birthdays when I was a kid, so the parties I did have really stand out in my mind. I think my favorite birthday was when I turned 6. My birthday is a few days before Halloween so we had a costume party. My mom found a prom dress at Good Will and, using her mad sewing skills, turned it into a pint sized gown. We were really into country music so I was a salon girl and my brother was a cowboy. I don't just remember the party from the photos. I have vivid memories of bits and pieces of it. We lived in a condo complex and we split up into 2 groups and went on a scavenger hunt. Then we had cake and all the girls stayed for a sleep over.

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Ahh, the 80's and my mom's feathered hair. Good times. I loved this party. It still makes me warm and fuzzy thinking about it. My pretty costume and my first sleepover will never be forgotten.  
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Of course many a birthday passed after that one. There was the birthday in 3rd grade when I got in trouble at school for lying and my party got cancelled. Fast forward to 6th grade and me and my best friend got to go to a New Kids on the Block concert as my present.

Jump 9 more years to my "Not-so-sweet 16" and you can call that my worst birthday on record. In a nut shell, I got a powder blue, '67 rag top, VW bug. I took the day off of school to get my drivers license. I went to school only for my first class, in which I had a test, and then I left. I made an off-hand comment to a teammate on the volleyball team about missing practice, which she told my coach and got me kicked off of the team. My mom had planned a surprise party so, to get me out of the house, my boyfriend and I took my new, old VW and went to dinner at the Olive Garden. On the way home my car died going up a hill and I couldn't get it started. A cop had to block traffic the other way, we pushed the car so it was going downhill and had to pop the clutch to get it going. By now, my awful day had me in tears. We manage to get home and I walk into the party. "SURPRISE" is right, the girl who got me kicked off of the team is at my party. Long story short. Suckiest birthday ever, made worse by the fact that I was a dramatic teenager.

5 years later, I turned 21 in the city where everyone should turn 21, Las Vegas! A bunch of my friends from work decided to drive up with us, so we were rolling 10 deep in the casino. I was so sassy with my burgundy bob! I can't remember how many shots I ingested, exactly, but I managed to not get sick. I wish I could say the same for my friend who puked at the Black Jack table. I was so mortified that we grabbed our chips and cashed out! I did win $250 bucks on a slot machine and was the star of a song at the NY NY dueling piano bar.

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On my 26th birthday, the Red Sox broke the 86 year curse and won the World Series. My hubby is convinced I broke the curse, and who am I to argue with his logic? My 30th birthday was spent watching Coldplay live with my bestie Joelle. I have some fun plans for my 35th birthday so stay tuned! I love birthdays. I think it is like having your own holiday. It is your day, the day you came into the world. I don't think I will ever stop wanting to celebrate or at least acknowledge it, no matter how old I get! 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How comfort food got its name

Week 3 in the Me before Mom series, hosted by Carla at All of Me Now, asks the question:

What was your favorite home cooked meal as a kid? Did you help make it? How did it make you feel? Share the scents, sights, and flavors.

My mom found out she had MS when I was 8 years old. She had to go on disability when it got too difficult for her to work. I think she felt guilty about her illness and how it affected my brother and I. She was the most loving parent and, though we had very little money, she always made sure we had home cooked meals. When we celebrated, we got home baked sweet treats. When we were sad or had a particularly rough day, she would make us our favorite meal. This is probably why I associate food with comfort. It was the one thing she could control when her body would not always cooperate.

My mom put a big focus on us eating dinner as a family. Even though our family was just me, my mother, and my brother, we ate together almost every night. No eating in front of the TV, no distractions, just dinner together where we would talk about our day and things that were going on in our lives. As an adult I look back on our dinners together and am glad she didn't let us chomp mindlessly to some show. I now make that a priority in our house and the only food eaten in front of a TV is on football days!

My mom was originally from Indiana. She grew up with all-American meals and we had much of the same. I can pretty much recite our menu staples: Fried Chicken, Spaghetti with Ragu and garlic bread, Polish sausage (always dipped in a combo of ketchup and mustard) and fried potatoes, Americanized ground beef tacos, and my favorite, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and canned corn. While I try to make healthier, more diverse meals for my family, I still make that meatloaf meal. it is not some fancy multi ingredient meatloaf. It is the recipe on the back of the Lipton onion soup mix and I love it...and so do my kids. The only thing I hated about that meal was the "combo". My brother, like all little brothers, lived to torture me. I was a weirdo special and didn't like my food to touch. My brother knew this and would purposely try to gross me out by making his combos. On meatloaf night a combo would be taking his piece of wheat bread, buttering it, layering on meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, and ketchup and making sure I knew how much he was enjoying it as he ate. Bleh. Thankfully, I have moved past my food issues because my kids make combo bites of that meal now, minus the wheat bread.

While times have changed and I have grown up, certain meals can always bring me back to my childhood. I cherish these memories and hope I am building some for my own kids.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! rocked Boston!

We had the chance to go see Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! Get the Sillies out!  at the Orpheum Theater in Boston on Saturday. Both of my kids love the TV show and I knew they would have a blast.

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My kids couldn't even wait until the show started to sing and dance in their seats. As soon as the lights dimmed they were cheering for their favorite characters, Plex and Foofa.The set is partly digital with a huge screen at the back of the stage. The screen images changed along with each song which I thought was pretty cool.

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Of course they played a bunch of my kid's favorite songs like "Hold Still" which had them both wiggling and dancing in the aisle and "Hugs are Fun" which resulted in a rare snuggle moment between the kidlets. My husband, who is not a huge fan of most kid shows, actually said he loved the show. I am pretty sure the presence of Biz Markie helped with that.  photo gabba1_zps9b822299.jpg
I really liked that there were a bunch of kids dancing in the aisles and in their seats and as they performed the songs they encouraged them along. Nate had a chance to show off his sweet dance moves and managed to get a dancing buddy out of it in the form of my friend Joanna's (Baby Gator's Den) son. I definitely see a dance party play date in their future.
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Over-all, the show was a perfect length, 80 minutes including a 20 minute intermission. I think it is just the right amount of time to hold my kids' attention. It was truly fun for the whole family, even though that sounds lame and cliche! There are still plenty of stops left on the tour, so don't miss out on this show!

Disclaimer: I received compensation for my posts in the form of 4 tickets to the show. All opinions and dance moves are my own!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE! : Get the Sillies Out!

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My kids love Yo Gabba Gabba! As parents, we are all subjected to kid shows on T.V. There are a small number of them that I actually enjoy watching with the kids and Yo Gabba Gabba! is one of them. I love that they teach kids important lessons, without them realizing it. They teach diversity, art appreciation, the importance of not biting our friends, and I can't count the number of times I have convinced one of my kids to eat something good for them by singing, "There's a Party in my Tummy". What is even better is they incorporate musicians that I like to listen to. My son is 5 1/2 and still loves to watch the show, so when I got the chance to take the kidlets to the live performance I jumped at it! I know we will love it and will tell you all about it after we go on Saturday! If you don't live in Boston, they have tour stops all over the country too.

"The sillies are crazy little creatures that live inside of us and need to be shaken out! DJ Lance Rock and everyone’s favorite cast of colorful characters are calling all fans in Boston to get ready to jump, shake and shimmy them out at the new live tour Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out!. Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get The Sillies Out! tour will visit more than 50 cities across the U.S. in 2013. Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE! is touring in support of their first national beverage launch, a new line of toys, a new line of kids sportswear and a DVD/ CD collectors' edition."
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Yo Gabba Gabba! LIVE!: Get the Sillies Out! will have two performances at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on Saturday, Jan. 26th (2pm and 5pm). CLICK HERE for ticket information for the shows. Tickets start at $23.50. VIP Party packages are available as well which include a ticket in the first 15 Rows, a pass to "Get the Sillies Out" in the private VIP room featuring a super fun party with the Gabba Gang (costumed characters) and more. Children under 1 year old do not require a paid ticket to sit on a parent's lap.
For a complete list of tour dates, cities and show times, and a preview of the show, visit 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A room of my own

This week's installment in the "Me before Mom" series asks the question, "What did your childhood bedroom look like? Give a tour. How did it change as you matured?”

I would love to say I had the same room, in the same house, for all of my childhood, but my reality was quite different. My parents divorced when I was 3 years old, so I always had 2 rooms no matter where we lived. The earliest room I can recall was the one I shared with my brother in our 2 bedroom, light pink house, with the giant stone front porch. We moved in when I was 6 and it was the first house I remember calling home. Our room had light brown, not-long-enough-to-be-called-shag-but-close-enough carpet, a bunk bed in the far left corner, a dresser on the right wall, and a window that looked out to the street, but my favorite space in the room was the closet. The closet was fairly large and all white. When you walked in, it had two rods on the left side for hanging clothes, and a built in dresser with 3 large drawers on the right. There was a small rectangular window high up toward the ceiling and a light with a pull chain. On top of the built-in was the space I would go to dream. It was a little higher than I was tall at the time and I would climb up there every day. I had pillows set up and I would sit in the closet and read or listen to "A Very Merry Unbirthday" on my fisher price record player. That spot is where I memorized my first poem for recitation (The Village Blacksmith, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which I still remember) and where I cried when, at 8 years old, my mom found out that she had Multiple Sclerosis.
Some other snap shots that I have in my memory of that room were: my mom singing to me and playing with my hair as I fell asleep, sleeping on the bottom bunk because I somehow managed to fall out of the top bunk...and not even wake up, and meeting my maternal grandfather for the first and last time. While I didn't exactly enjoy sharing a room with my brother, I loved our room in that house and was sad to move.

I would have to say that my favorite bedroom growing up was my room throughout high school. My mom let me have the master bedroom in our house after she got tired of my brother and me almost killing each other every day fighting over the bathroom. I had my own bathroom, mirrored closet doors, a pop-out bay window seat, and more crap under my bed than should have been humanly possible. I had moved on from my middle school obsession with The New Kids on the Block, so my posters were removed and the ridiculous neon NKOTB bedspread, that adorned my bed for 3 years, was replaced with a hunter green one with a southwest theme. I had a dream catcher hanging from my ceiling and a framed picture of a Native American girl on one wall and a wolf on the other. My favorite thing about that room was the bay window seat. We lived in the dessert and had frequent electrical storms. I could watch the lightning for hours. I guess when I reflect on my favorite rooms, the thing I liked the best was that both had a special spot to think, read, and just be me.

I had 9 bedrooms from birth to high school graduation. The first (that I can remember) and last were my favorites, and in homes I lived in the longest. I hope my children have fond memories of their bedrooms...and far fewer of them than I did.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How did I get my name?

My friend Carla over at All of has a wonderful idea. She wants to tell her story to her children. Not just one snapshot in time, but a series of stories to show them who she was before they knew her as "Mom". I love the idea and will be participating in the weekly series. It is important to me that I retain my identity and not just be seen as a mom. I had a full life before I had kids and that didn't disappear once I had my first child. So with out further ado, the first installment of "Me before Mom".

How did you get your name? Did you always love it? Have you ever wanted to change it?

Kameron Louise

From what I've been told, my first name had 2 major influences. My mom's best friend Dean's middle name was Cameron, and then there was a dancer on American Bandstand named Kami. My mom said she always loved the name and that is why she decided to spell it with a K. The ironic thing is she never called me Kami and I hated it so much when people would call me that, that I wouldn't allow it! The only one who ever got away with it was my uncle. He called me Kami-Lou until I was an adult. I think he did it just to get a rise out of me! 

My middle name is my grandma's middle name. While I thought it sounded slightly "Little House on the Prairie" when I was younger, I have always like the fact that my Gram and I shared a middle name. We were really close when I was growing up and it felt like our own secret club.

I have a pretty unique name, but I didn't always like it. People couldn't pronounce it right. I got called Carmen, Candace and Kam-or-on a lot. I would just politely correct them and watch their puzzled face as they tried to say it right the next time.  I don't think I met another girl with my name until I was out of high school, and even then it was spelled with a C. My mom was adamant that people spell my name correctly. She always introduced me as "Kameron with a K".  It was humiliating back then, but I find myself doing it now. People often thought I was a boy by my name. I even got a notice from the U.S. government after I turned 18 saying it was a felony not to register for the draft. I think, just like everything in life, the grass is always greener on the other side. I wished I had a more normal name. I wished I didn't have to pronounce it for everyone or spell it all the time. Having a unique name made me a target for teasing too, but I think kids will always find something to tease about anyway.

It wasn't until I got into high school that I started liking my name. I started appreciating the fact that I wasn't one of 3 Heathers in my class that had to go by Heather followed by their last initial. When someone said my name, there was only one of me. I liked it even more as I got into college. It was a conversation starter. I started to really own it. I think it fits me. I sort of don't like the fact that if you Google my name I am the only one that shows up, but I guess it is cool that there is only one me. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dear Kate: Function meets Fashion

So, I can't say I ever thought I would blog about undies, aside from how many I have to wash during potty training, but here I am! As you might know I have become somewhat of a runner. I have taken a tiny break in the past, cough, 2 months, but I am back at it again!  Can I just tell you how awful it is to run in the wrong undergarments?? I usually know after the first 2 minutes of a run if I have selected the wrong ones for the task. They bunch, pinch, go places no underwear should ever go, etc. To add insult to injury, there is the lovely chafing that can occur after you have been running for over an hour. I find that it is due to a mix of sweat, the wrong undies, and the fact that my thighs really like to stay close together, damn thighs.
Enough about my problem, let's talk about the solution! Dear Kate to the rescue. They have a line of fashionable, yet super functional undergarments, that are awesome. I got the Leading Lady bikini (pictured below on a model...not one wants to see that). From the photo I thought they would be a little tight, but they fit perfectly. If you are worried about that go a size up. They were the most comfortable undies to run in. They stayed put and absorbed moisture so I had no chafing at all.

They are designed with a three breathable layers, to wick away moisture and then absorb it. They were originally designed to provide backup during menstrual cycles, but have so many more benefits! Many women have problems when they are pregnant or after the baby is born that I like to call the "Achoo, oops I peed a little" or "Bwahahaha, that is hilarious. Ugh, not again!". These undies are the solution to those problems! They also have a maternity line and their basic line is so comfy but doesn't look at all like the granny undies I wore after my kids were born! I like the bikini so much that I am going to try the thong they make as well. They also have a fancier line that looks like Betty Page might have modeled them. Note to self...get skinny enough to be able to wear them in a boudoir shoot!  If you'd like to get your own Dear Kates, visit their site and use the coupon code below to save $10. 

Disclosure: I was provided a pair of Dear Kate underwear to test out in exchange for posting my honest opinion.